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today. the pontiff touched on political themes as well, calling for peace in syria and appealing to italians to embrace the spirit of cooperation in upcoming elections. >> tens of thousands of people showed up in st. peter's square to hear benedict's message, and millions to and in worldwide. >> tens of thousands of people turned out to hear the pope's christmas message. the square erupted in applause as the pontiff stepped out to address the crowd. he revisited one of the themes of his christmas eve message -- the wish for peace in the middle east. turning and i to syria, he called for an end to the conflict -- turning an eye to syria. the pope appealed to those responsible to stop the bloodshed and slaughter of innocent people. he called for dialogue in order to find a political solution to the conflict. the pope then delivered a christmas message in 65 languages. >> remind the world that true happiness lies in their hearts with hope and joy, for the savior has been born for us. >> for many in the audience, hearing the message in their own language was an obvious highlight. the
leaders have often been at loggerheads over the fighting in syria. russia is one of damascus' key allies and turkey is one of its most vocal critics. >> just before the talk, shells landed in a syrian border town. in germany, chancellor angela merkel's christian democrats have begun meeting in hanover for a party conference looking ahead to next year's elections. >> merkel's party has been grappling with consensus -- contentious issues, including whether to give same-sex part ners the same privileges which married couples enjoy. and to reelect chancellor kohl as the next party chairman -- chancellor merkel as the party chair. what is in store for this congress? >> something like a coronation. angela merkel is expected to be announced as the candidate, with the -- with something like you expect to see in the chinese congress. she is expected to receive 90% backing or more. she remains germany's most popular politician. there are no rivals insight within the party. she is the undisputed leader of the cdu. you might even say she is the cdu's main message that begins -- and at the meeting th
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